Creating a cross-cultural design system

Financial Times

TimelinePlatformMy role
12 monthsWebProduct Designer

scoutAsia is an AI-driven platform focused on providing news and corporate data about Asia. Jointly developed by Nikkei and the Financial Times, it aims to make Asian business information more accessible to foreign enterprises. They embarked on a transformative journey to develop a design system, addressing the inconsistencies and inefficiencies in its user experience and development processes. This initiative aimed to enhance usability, improve development efficiency, and establish a scalable system that serves as a single source of truth.

My responsibilities

  • Deliver a scalable design system adaptable to future updates and expansions
  • Document the design components and guidelines
  • Coaching internal teams in London and Tokyo
  • Integrate scoutAsia brand into the new system

All information in this case study is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of Financial Times and Nikkei.

High-level goals

There was a need to conduct user research in Tokyo and London, to integrate cross-cultural insights into the design process. The objective was to inform the development of a user-centered design system aimed at improving the overall user experience and consistency across scoutAsia. The key objective was to simplify the development process to reduce the time and resources spent on implementation and maintenance, ensuring a more efficient and effective workflow.

Reflecting on our impact

Post-implementation surveys showed a 40% increase in overall user satisfaction, with users finding the platform more intuitive and easier to navigate. User engagement metrics, such as time spent on the platform and the number of sessions per user, increased by 35%. The standardised design system reduced the average development time for new features, allowing the team to deliver updates more quickly. Additionally, incorporating insights from Tokyo-based research improved the platform’s relevance and usability for diverse user groups, leading to a 15% increase in international user retention.


  • The existing design lacked uniformity, leading to a disjointed user experience.
  • Without a standardized design system, developers faced challenges in maintaining and scaling the platform.
  • Ensuring the design system met the diverse needs of users across Asia required extensive research and collaboration.

Cross-cultural Research

I travelled to Tokyo to collaborate directly with the local development team from Nikkei. During my time there, I conducted contextual research to understand the workflows and challenges faced by the developers. This involved extensive user research to gather insights into their processes, preferences, and cultural nuances. By immersing myself in their work environment, I was able to tailor the design system to better meet the needs of users across different cultures, ensuring it was both relevant and effective for the diverse scoutAsia user base.

Key learnings

The research highlighted the need to incorporate culturally relevant design elements, establish clear communication channels, and develop a scalable, consistent design framework. These insights were essential for customising the design system to address the diverse needs of scoutAsia’s users, ensuring it was both user-friendly and developer-friendly.

The solution

Using the Sketch library in conjunction with Zeplin to document the design components and guidelines was a crucial decision for scaling and delivering the project efficiently. We developed comprehensive design guidelines that ensured consistency and scalability. These guidelines covered all aspects of the design, from typography and colour schemes to component libraries.

The Design System in action

These improvements demonstrate the significant impact of the new design system on scoutAsia’s performance, user satisfaction, and operational efficiency. By addressing key challenges and using cross-cultural insights, the project successfully positioned scoutAsia as a more user-friendly and efficient platform in the Asian business intelligence market.

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Integrating a user-centered taxi service

TimelinePlatformMy role
3 monthsiOS and AndroidProduct Designer

Overview wanted to make travel easier by adding an on-demand taxi service to their app. The idea was to let users book taxis without switching between different apps, which was a hassle and caused people to use the app less. They also needed to address safety and reliability concerns that made users wary of third-party taxi services. Plus, needed to offer a complete travel solution that included a trustworthy taxi service to stay competitive.


  • Integrate an on-demand taxi service within the app.
  • Avoid the need for multiple app switches.
  • Increase user engagement by making taxi booking more convenient.
  • Ensure the safety of users when using the taxi service.
  • Ensure the reliability of the taxi service.
  • Overcome user hesitation regarding third-party taxi services.
  • Provide a comprehensive travel solution that includes trustworthy taxi options.
  • Maintain a competitive edge in the travel market with a fully integrated service.

All information in this case study is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of

Design Process

The design process took six weeks. First, we understood user needs through research, interviews, and competitive analysis. Next, we defined user personas, empathy maps, and user journeys. On the ideation phase, we collaboratively drafted potential solutions to be tested. Then, we started the design phase by prototyping some initial concepts. Finally, we tested the designs, gathered feedback, and planned future concepts.

Reflecting on our impact

  • Improved user engagement: Integrating the taxi on-demand service significantly increased user engagement with the app. Users found it more convenient to book taxis through
  • Enhanced trust: The brand’s trustworthiness extended to the taxi service, mitigating user concerns about safety and reliability.
  • Increased competitiveness:’s comprehensive travel solution with the integrated taxi service helped maintain its competitive edge in the travel market.

Understanding traveller’s challenges in different perspectives

The first step was to investigate what happens during the travel process, what challenges travellers face, and why they face them. We spoke with different types of travellers: solo, couples, and families with kids. The aim was to understand what happens in these contexts when these travellers need to use a taxi while abroad. Understanding this was essential as it helped us define new features and flows.

Research key learnings

Our conversations with different travellers revealed that they faced frustration with long waits, trouble finding available taxis, and uncertainty about arrival times. Some preferred to book in advance, while others needed taxis immediately, so offering both options is crucial. They expected an easy booking process, clear pricing, and real-time ride tracking. Plus, they wanted to choose the type of vehicle and specify any special requirements, like pet-friendly or wheelchair-accessible options.

How might we ensure a smooth and transparent booking and pick-up experience for our customers every time?

While exploring different travel scenarios, we found that many travellers often had to walk to specific pick-up points. It was a common frustration for most of the people we spoke with. So, we designed a system that sends real-time updates about pick-up times, making the whole process much smoother and less stressful. user interface design for taxi on demand service

Launch and Monitoring

The feature was launched as part of an app update. Continuous monitoring and user feedback were used to make improvements. The development phase ensured that the design vision became a tangible, user-friendly reality within the app, ultimately fulfilling the project’s goals of improved user engagement and competitive advantage.

This project taught me the importance of cross-functional collaboration, as the best ideas can come from unexpected sources. It also demonstrated the value of getting contextual data on your designs, ensuring they meet user needs and improve their overall experience. Additionally, it highlighted the importance of aligning design solutions with business goals, ensuring that our work not only fulfills user needs but also drives success for the company.